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Nigerians Celebrate Liturgy to Invoke ‘Peace and Security’

After the murder of Fr. Paul Offu

On Sunday August 4, 2019, after the violence that continues to upset the lives of the local population and which on 1 August 1 also registered the murder of Catholic priest Paul Offu, the local Catholic community gathered in the Holy Family arena, at the cathedral of Enugu, to take part in a Eucharistic concelebration presided by Bishop Callisto Onaga. The liturgy was celebrated to invoke, in prayer, peace, and security for the diocese and for the whole region. The diocese also released an official statement describing the dramatic condition of the area, marked by massacres, kidnappings, rape, arson, and devastation, and the responsibilities of the political authorities are also called into question in the face of the devastation scenarios outlined.

The statement, sent to Fides News Agency, describes a state of anarchy, total breakdown of law and order, in which “an alarming number of our people – including Priests and government officials – have been killed by these murderers”. “For fear of being raped – we read, among other things, in the document – our women can no longer carry out their regular activities in the villages, particular their farming and other businesses”. The statement asks the government to “flush out bad Fulanis from our state”, and “effectively equip the vigilante groups to provide protection and security for their various localities”.

Father Paul Offu was killed on the evening of Thursday, August 1st. The priest, parish priest in Ugbawka, fell under the gunshots fired by a group of armed people called “Fulani shepherds” while he was driving along the Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu. According to the first reconstructions, the priest did not stop in front of the attackers who ordered him to block his car.

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